The rise and fall of CGE Peterborough: the plant's 'toxic legacy'

The rise and fall of CGE Peterborough: the plant's 'toxic legacy'
From Global News - November 14, 2017

Several hundred former Canadian General Electric workers are fighting for compensation for occupational illness. They say they were made sick by their exposure to chemicals while working at the Peterborough factory over the past 50 years. They say those chemicals include solvents, lead and asbestos.

General Electric has gone on record as saying it has always followed the best health and safety practices based on the best knowledge available to them at the time.

READ MORE: General Electric shutting down Peterborough plant in 2018

Sue James, whose father died after years at CGE, works with a group created to support and organize the claimants. The GE Retirees Advisory Committee issued a report detailing the chemicals and materials used at the plant.

I would say over the years, thousands, and some have never put claims in, some are long gone, so we fight for the 300 plus that are still living with cancer or who have passed away, James said.

Jim Dufresne, who is a prostate cancer survivor, was employed at CGE for 42 years including working with trichloroethylene.

If theres still fumes down there, the leader told us he says,Well youll know if you go down too early, cause youll get a tingling in your testicles. The leader that told us that, he died of testicular cancer, Dufresne said.

READ MORE: Retired Peterborough CGE workers recall the Dynamic Decades

A retiree who wants to pursue damages must file a compensation claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Many of the former workers have complaints about the way the way they have been treated by the WSIB. Sandy LeBeaus husband, Ron, died of cancer in 1995. She says exposure to asbestos made him sick and eventually killed him. LeBeau says her claim has been denied unfairly.


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